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Jack Frost

Twisted Christmas
by yo go re

Grab your chestnuts - Jack Frost is on his way, and he's nipping at more than your nose.

There is no escaping his frozen rampage, and he's closing in on you. His icy grip is inevitable. By the time you notice the nip in the air, it's already too late.

In modern times, Jack Frost is the personification of chilly weather, kind of a milder Old Man Winter. He's the one who ices over your windows and frosts the leaves before they fall off the trees. You know, nice harmless stuff. The name might come from Norse mythology, where Jokul (meaning icicle or glacier) and Frosti (you can figure that one out for yourself) were alternate names for the son of Kari, who was the living wind. The personality, meanwhile, might be drawn from Russia's Morozko, whom you might remember from a particularly terrible episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. If you're unfortunate.

Of course, that's the classic Jack Frost - this is Todd McFarlane's Jack Frost. Rather than a spritely scamp, he's a towering frost giant. look at that detail! Behold: he is become Shiva, destroyer of worlds. When we first saw the prototype pictures of this line, a lot of folks assumed Jack would be a boxed set, like Urizen - while that figure just stood over a few buildings, this one has an entire town at his feet. Literally. Some hilly, snowbound hamlet is facing a permanent deep-freeze, as the monstrous Jack Frost looms above the sleeping citizens.

Jack Frost's sculpt really makes him look like a shambling beast. He's in a squat pose, and his shoulders are on the same level as the top of his head. His feet look like tree roots, and icicles droop off his thighs and shoulders, with more sprouting back from his forearms. He has big white fingernails, and a ridge of icicles form his spine. A copse of trees is scattered across his shoulders, in a manner similar to Hellboy's Graveyard Skeleton.

If Santa is this line's version of the Clown - all short and squat - then Jack Frost is its Violator. Look at that scrawny lower jaw, which somehow still manages to stretch all the way down to his waist. Jack has beady red eyes and a recognizable nose and cheeks, but he certainly doesn't look friendly. Tree roots line the sides of his face. His teeth are daggers of ice, sharp icicles jutting straight up or down in his mouth. It's not as hectic as the Snowman's teeth, but still frightening and harsh. The Snowman looks like he'd grind you up - Jack Frost looks like he'd slice you to ribbons.

The scale is kind of all over the place when you really start examining the figure. The limb clutched in his hands looks relatively normal, like he was a human-sized creature who picked it up as a weapon. But it's larger than the barren trees clustered on his shoulders, meaning at the bare minimum, it was a tree three times as tall as any of the others. Then, of course, even the smllest stump on his back is bigger than any of the buildings in the town he stands over. If the stick in his hands is the same scale as the buildings, it would be about 80 stories tall. Thus, the scale is out of whack.

According to the listing on the Spawn site, "Jack Frost stands 6 inches at top of head, top of branches reach 9 inches." Yeah, don't listen to that. His head is 5¼", and the tallest branch is 7½". The figure is cast in translucent blue plastic, then painted with white to suggest a light dusting of snow. Light shines through the figure nicely, making him ethereal and icy. Of course, the proto pics showed a lot more white than blue (and more detailing on the trees), but skimping on paint apps isn't exactly a new thing for McToys. He moves at the wrists, biceps, left shin and right thigh, but it's all for fine-tuning the balance, not any actual poseability.

Though Jack can stand on his own, he includes a 4" wide base to aid that. Like we said before, it depicts a small town on the slopes of some snowy mountain. Without Jack in place, the base looks really weird - there's this horseshoe-shaped void where his foot should go. See, it's not just that he's stepped next to the town, but that he's rising forth above it. One of the bumps on his heel is supposed to be painted white, to match the mountainous terrain, but it's mostly trans blue, which doesn't help the illusion. The 23 buildings of the town are detailed well, considering their miniscule size, with varying heights and designs. There's even a random windmill on the hill. The rest of the base doesn't quite look like a mountain, but it does look like stone, so that's good enough.

If you put Jack's foot all the way into place in its appointed divot, the base won't rest flat on the ground - the front half will sort of "hover." To fix this, just push the base down until it's flat. Sure, the foot won't be all the way "in," but the figure will look beter and he'll still stand fine.

Jack Frost makes for an interesting figure. The design is monstrous, but not outlandish or disgusting. In short, it's a good horror figure. The inclusion of a tiny city at his feet is a cool little extra, as long as you don't think too hard about what size he's supposed to be. Yes, the paint on the prototype is better, but the figure still looks good as-is. If you want an adult Christmas-y display piece that isn't sugary sweet (and is even non-denominational, to boot!), the Jack Frost is a good choice. Just don't pay too much.

-- 12/02/07

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